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Calabash nutmeg

Monodora myristica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Magnoliales
Family: Annonaceae
Genus: Monodora
Species: M. myristica
Binomial name
Monodora myristica

Monodora myristica, commonly known as calabash nutmeg, ehuru, Jamaican nutmeg, nuscade de Calabash, ariwo, airama, African nutmeg and African orchid nutmeg is a tropical shrub of the Annonaceae or custard apple family of flowering plants. The flowers of Monodora myristica look very much like those of an orchid (hence the common name of 'African orchid nutmeg'), and the fruit is a nearly spherical drupe about the same size as an orange.

The seeds and seed coats of the plant are used as a spice. The fruit contains a number of these aromatic seeds embedded in a yellow pulp. The seeds and their seed coat are removed and dried giving a heart-shaped spice some 3cm long and 2cm broad at its widest part. Once dried these have an aroma reminiscent of nutmeg and are sold whole to be grated as a nutmeg substitute. At one time it was widely sold as an inexpensive substitute for nutmeg, although this practice is less common today outside its region of production (Nigeria). Calabash nutmeg has a nutmeg-like flavour with a pungent overtone.

The whole seed coat and seed is either ground and used as a seasoning for West African soups or stews or is ground and used as a nutmeg-like flavouring in cakes and desserts. As well as yielding calabash nutmeg the seed coat is often removed and the inner true seed is sold as ehuru or ehiri (its name in Yorubu, a Nigerian language). Ehuru is generally pounded to a fine powder and used as both a thickener and a flavouring for traditional Nigerian stews.


  • Celtnet Spice Guide [1] (accessed August 10 2007)

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Calabash_nutmeg". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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